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Karidopita Horis Siropi — Walnut Cake with Syrup

This recipe for Karidopita Horis Siropi was graciously shared by Pamela Kockos Merchant, the Bay Area cookbook author of Tradition! Recipes, Tales, and More from My Greek-American Life. Pamela will be a vendor at the Santa Cruz Greek Festival and will have her new cookbook available for purchase.

INGREDIENTS:

Walnuts
1½ cups shelled walnut halves

Syrup
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup clover honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick

Batter
2 cups pancake mix
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup regular or 2% low-fat milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten

METHOD:

For the Walnuts: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place walnuts on a large (15 x 10 x 1-inch) baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Toast in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes; cool for 5 minutes. Chop walnuts coarsely; set aside.

For the Syrup: Place water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring until the sugar is dissolved and ingredients are combined well. Reduce to low heat and cook another 20 minutes without stirring; set aside.

For the Batter: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a medium (13 x 9 x 2-inch) baking pan; set aside.

Place the pancake mix, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, oil, and eggs all at once and mix with a handheld electric beater until the ingredients are combined well. (Note: Don’t worry about clumps—they magically disappear during cooking.) Add chopped nuts and stir with a spatula. Pour batter in prepared baking pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.

After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes and is still in the pan, cut it diagonally into 2-inch widths starting from the center. Repeat in the opposite direction to form diamond shapes. Discard the cinnamon stick from the syrup. Spoon the syrup into all the cut edges including around the perimeter, and let stand about 30 minutes for the syrup to soak. Serve warm.

YIELD: Makes 24 pieces